Monitoring report “Universal Soldier” for January-March 2023
The Russian Federation continues its purposeful policy of destroying the Ukrainian identity and militarizing children, who remained in the occupied territories of Ukraine.
The actions of the Russian Federation are aimed at the complete assimilation of the population of the occupied territories and the formation of children’s desire to support the armed forces of the Russian Federation, including voluntary joining the army of the Russian Federation upon reaching required age.
The following tendencies can be identified for the monitoring period of January-March 2023:
Regarding the occupied Crimea
The policy of the Russian Federation regarding the militarization and indoctrination of children of the peninsula continues. New centers of the “Movement of the First” are being opened, in which all children of the peninsula are being actively involved, including the youngest ones – through the organization “Orlyata RF”.
The occupying administrations of Crimea continue to open commemorative plaques in educational institutions in honor of those who died during the so-called “Special Military Operation”. Also, children and youth from the occupied parts of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions are being invited to Crimea for patriotic education, who are then being accepted in the ranks of the Young Army.
It should also be noted that this year’s celebration of the ninth year of the occupation of Crimea was not particularly large-scale, mass events and a parade for the 78th anniversary of the “Great Victory” on May 9 were also canceled.
Regarding the occupied parts of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions
It should be noted that during the monitoring period there was an intensification of the measures aimed at
- destroying the Ukrainian identity and replacing it with the Russian one;
- militarization of children and youth;
- active involvement in youth movements, the centers of which are being opened in the occupied territories at a frantic pace. This especially applies to the “Movement of the First” but is also relevant for the “Young Army”, “Young Guard of the United Russia”, #YugMolodoy and other more local centers (for example “Young Traffic Inspectors” in the occupied Berdyansk)
These movements actively promote the ideas and values typical for the Russian identity (for example, cult of victory in the “Great Patriotic War”, volunteerism and volunteering for the benefit of the Russian federation, loyalty to the Russian army etc.).
The occupying administrations and youth organizations of the temporarily occupied Crimea, which actively train “activists” from the occupied South, play a significant role in these processes.
The active militarization of children and youth has begun
Solemn openings of the Young Army centers take place, children get actively involved in supporting Russian soldiers through “A letter to a soldier” campaigns, collecting clothes to send to the frontlines and participating in patriotic events.
There were more frequent reports about the visits of servicemen of the Russian Federation to preschool institutions and schools, including for trainings in handling weapons and demonstration of military equipment.
Integration of education in the occupied territories into the Russian education system
In 2023, one can observe the ousting of the Ukrainian language and literature from the public space of the occupied South through reducing the hours of language and literature study in educational institutions, removing Ukrainian books from libraries and schools, and replacing with the books of Russian classics.
On February 17, 2022, Putin signed the law, aimed at integrating the systems of education and scientific activity of DPR, LPR, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions into the legal system of the Russian federation.
The law should bring the activities of educational organizations in the occupied Ukrainian territories into compliance with the legislation of the Russian Federation with the implementation of the socalled “transitional period”, based on the experience of Crime and the city of Sevastopol – that is, actually implementing the “Crimean scenario” of the destruction of Ukrainian education.
The so-called “head of Crimea” Aksyonov also stated that based on the Crimean experience the integration of “new territories” will take at least 5 years. In other words, the efforts to destroy the Ukrainian identity in the occupied territories will only intensify.